The battle of Gallipoli was of one of the bloodiest of the Great War, particularly so for British colonial units from Australia and New Zealand. Churchill’s plan to secure the Dardanelles was thwarted by stout Turkish troops and a brilliant young commander named Mustafa Kemal. As Ed West relates, that same man, now named Atatürk, Turkey’s great modernizer, would later write an open letter to the people of Australia that contained these moving words:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives; – You are now living in the soil of a friendly country, – therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries – wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom, – and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.